If you have kept track of your weekly pregnancy development, you probably know the approximate time when your baby should arrive. The Internet is a veritable powerhouse of information. It has websites dedicated to not only pregnancy, but also to the smallest aspects associated with it. You will find pregnancy pictures week by week and a lot of moms claim that a pregnancy diary is a great way to remember those ‘expectant’ days and cross check any information they may need later.
In the later stages of your pregnancy, you will probably be instructed by your obstetrician to go for weekly pregnancy development checks, monitor the baby’s movement every hour or every few hours, and look out for certain signs such as shooting pains along your back or thighs and contractions or bleeding.
As you probably know by this time, the EDD (expected date of delivery) is the 40th week after the mother’s last LMP (last menstrual period). However, very few babies are actually born on the due date.
It will be more correct to say that according to pregnancy calendars, most babies are delivered between 38th and 42nd weeks of their mother’s LMP. If you study pictures of the development of a pregnancy week by week, you will find that the human embryo mimics the entire process of its evolution in the brief period in the mother’s womb.
If this is your first baby, look out for signals of beginning of labor. Inform your physician or the hospital, your partner or whoever is supposed to drive you over to the hospital when your contractions get more frequent.
If you have kept yourself thoroughly informed, you will know when it is time to rush to the hospital. Some physicians insist on a specific interval between contractions to avoid false alarms. If this is so – ask and settle the matter with your physician beforehand. Expect and insist on a birth plan so that you and your family are aware of exactly what will happen after the onset of labor.
The birth plan should include what will be done if water has/has not broken, monitoring to be done after admission, whether enema will be required etc.
Many experts insist on women walking around or at least staying upright during labor so that gravity helps in the descent of the baby. In the transition phase, expect the contractions to come very fast, cervix is dilated 8-10 cm, and shakiness, feeling cold or hot, irritability and nausea are common complaints.
In stage two, the cervix is dilated at 10 cm, and the mother is gradually encouraged to push harder, each push lasting 5-8 seconds. This stage may last between a few minutes to several hours. When the baby’s head and shoulders come out, the rest of it will slide free. After this, the umbilical cord is cut and the child is assisted to breathe, if it has not already done so.
The uterus continues to contract after this to expel the placenta and after this is completed, the doctor may suture if required.
A pregnancy culminates in the birth of the baby. If you have followed the development of the baby and maintained a week by week pregnancy calendar, now it is time to replace those abstract pictures with real life – your own miracle in your arms.